What is Infertility?
Infertility is usually defined as the “inability to conceive within 12 months.” This diagnosis, unfortunately, occurs in 15% of couples trying to conceive. Infertility can look differently for many couples including treatments they choose, ways of coping and communicating, periods of mourning and loss, and eventually how couples decide to start their family or live a childfree life. This blog discusses what infertility is (some symptoms, testing, and treatments), the feelings of loss and stress it puts on a couple, and how infertility can lead to adoption for some people.
Some indicators of infertility are:
Some testing that doctors can do for a fertility evaluation:
Some treatment options:
The Loss and Stress Infertility Can Bring Upon a Couple
Infertility may result in different feelings for a couple including loss, grief, shame, embarrassment, and frustration. There are a number of ways in which infertility can impact a couple’s relationship:
During this time of unimaginable stress, there are practical ways that couples can choose to lean on each other and reduce stress. The most important of these is learning how to effectively communicate with each other. Share your fears and talk about your infertility. Seek out professional help to strengthen your ability to cope and manage, whether it be couples counseling or individual counseling. It is a myth that all couples who go to counseling will get divorced. Infertility can place a significant strain on your relationship and having a counselor is a good way to help you both navigate how to deal with this challenge together. You may also choose to reach out for social support. Don’t try to cope with infertility alone – research shows that couples who receive social support have improved relationships. You don’t need to tell everyone, but deciding on a few close friends or family whom you trust can make a substantial difference and create a positive outlet for both of you. Allow for differences in experience. Remember that everyone copes differently – offer each other support without preconditions or comparison. You can find ways to connect unrelated to your infertility. Find other topics to talk about and other activities to do. Think back to your days of dating and make a list of fun things to do together. Remember to compromise - whether it’s an argument over who to tell or how to pay for a treatment cycle, avoid black-and-white thinking and aim for a compromise. Lastly, sit down and make a plan together. Putting together an action plan and a financial plan that is short-term and flexible can help couples cope and feel more in control over the situation.
How Infertility Can Lead to Adoption
Some couples choose adoption after receiving their infertility diagnosis. For many couples, this is not an easy road and it takes some time to come to adoption as a way to build their family. Give yourself time to grieve, look into counseling, and when you’re ready, look into options for building a family.
What are some of the benefits of choosing adoption after infertility?
Overall, infertility to adoption looks like hope for many individuals and families. Adoption allows people the chance and experience of raising a child, having a family, and impacting a child’s life forever.
Healthline has a touching story of a woman who chose adoption to build her family after receiving an infertility diagnosis at the age of 26. In the article, she says, “I am also so in love with this little girl, to the point that I can’t believe I ever thought, even for a second, that adopting might be a lesser way of becoming a parent. But hindsight is always 20/20. One thing you will never hear me telling a woman who is struggling with infertility to do is to “just adopt.” I firmly believe that adoption has to be a calling for it to work. You have to want it, not because you can’t have anything else, but because it’s where your heart is actually leading you.” You can read her full story here.
If you are exploring options and adoption is one of them our adoption specialists are more than happy to listen, answer your questions as you navigate your options, and/or help you start your adoption journey. Call or email us today!